7 Crazy Days & Nights of Yarn in New York City - Part 2: The Big Show

Ah yes - I am still sort of taking it all in... and that is why it has taken me so long to blog about. That whirlwind trip home was more than enough fiber food to feed my soul for many moons. And it has been non-stop since, causing a delay in even time to share it all with you. But I am here to say Vogue Knit Live (VKL) NYC 2018 was by far one of the best things I have ever done in my life.

I was already on fiber cloud nine from a week full of pre-game fiber fabulousness but that was nothing compared to the next 3 days. 

I had never been to VKL before and truly did not know what to expect. I was a little hesitant when I first registered because I was going a lone. Sure, I am a natural loner, but it can be intimidating to go to these big events solo. And this felt HUGE to me. This is VOGUE. I was there for myself to learn but also offered a press pass for my blog. I felt an unspoken pressure to measure up to that honor. The pressure wasn't real. It is what we do to ourselves right?

So I just dig deep, pray and be brave.

Well, from the minute I stepped off the elevator, for the first time in my life, that weight was lifted. I truly did not worry about being there "alone" or by myself. I was home. I was with MY people. It all felt just right. I felt confident and welcomed all at once by thousands of fellow fiber enthusiasts. It's funny how we build things up to fear then when we do them it is like.. wait... THIS IS AMAZING... why was I scared?

I had nothing to worry about - It was like instant knit happiness the minute I walked in. The energy in the whole building, heck on the block entering the hotel was tangible. It was elevated and incredible. I knew I was in for a fab few days.

I kicked things off with an all day designer intensive course with Josh Bennett. It was great to have already met him and connected so I felt a bit more at ease. It was truly something special to be in a solid full class with other designers, sharing ideas, talking about ways to elevate. Learning from Josh on how to grow and improve in our own design path. He also took time to meet with EVERY STUDENT one on one about our work. I did not see that coming and it was quite impressive to have an opportunity for that kind of feedback and learning. I can tell you that I left that class with so much gained and so much to think about.

I truly think of all the workshops or classes I took, that one left the biggest impact to my design work. Not just because of the lessons taught. But also the thinking that class inspired me to start doing about my work and my approach to designing is a game changer. Josh's class is what I would call disruptive AF and in the best way. It is a big part of why I changed my plan for 2018 and decided to take a 6 month step back and slow down April - September. To feed my soul and grow and enjoy every stitch and design with intention. AH SO GOOD!!!!!

VKL_MarketPlace_20185.jpg

After class I hit the marketplace with my new BFF Kristy Glass for a bit. That was quite the scene I tell you. The market was a bit of sensory overload. ALL the people, ALL the fiber, ALL the color, and that was just the entrance! We did our first perusal but barely made any headway because we had to keep stopping to touch all the yarn lol. Like ALL. THE. YARN.

We popped over to the cocktail party the Dover Publishing was having to celebrate the launch of the new book Glamourie. Yummy food, unwinding after a crazy first day and hanging out with fellow fiber folk. Yeah - that was my kind of evening. Not quite sure what time I left or it ended but I know I was looking at my watch thinking, whoa nelly better get some sleep for tomorrow.

Guys - that was just DAY ONE!

Woke up super early for day two because I was taking Brioche 101 with Nancy Marchant. You know, only the queen of Brioche Knitting herself. It was one of those things where you want to learn and soak in as much as you can of both the person AND the lesson. She is the real deal y'all. It is a beautiful and magical stitch so I can why it is hot and on trend and everywhere right now, but, as a fairly new knitter, brioche scared the bleepers out of me. Nancy made it so simple. So easy to follow along. I was able to SEE how to do the stitches. I learned also that I learn better that way. I am primarily self taught and this type of instruction was incredible to have someone, a pro, THE pro, sit and show you stitch by stitch is quite something. Now I want to make all the brioche things. Can I? Please?

I even got myself somehow inducted into Team Brioche with Nancy, Stephen West and Lavanya Patricella, so it is official now y'all.

Having done my first walkabout and Marketplace preview Friday, Saturday was my day to shop and truly dive in. I had noted  a few booths I definitely wanted to come back and spend time at and get yarn from. I mean, even now I think back and I am certain I only got to half of the booths. Check my Haul recap for more on the Marketplace of awesome.

I took a market break for the Fashion Show but have to tell you that it was hard to get a good spot. Definitely making note to get a seat early next year. Though at the same time, if you don't mind missing the show, that is prime time to shop as booth traffic is light in that area.

I had every intention of going to the VKL Gala Saturday Night, in fact I paid a hefty ticket price to be there. But I didn't feel like getting gussied up to go solo to a dinner. Because the truth is that I wasn't solo anymore. I had made fiber friends and was with my peeps and that was a far better choice than hitting up a fancy dinner solo.

So I hung with Stephanie from Asylum Fibers (you MUST check her out) and her fab group of indie dyers for dinner then spent the rest of the evening knitting and chatting away with my new bestie Chantal, also known as The Flying Yak. We sat, we had snacks and beverages, we knit, we chatted, we sat in silence at times.. it was in fact my idea of a perfect Saturday night. Eventually the bar closed and we were forced to face the fact that while yes it is NYC and we could relocate, we should probably sleep to prep for that one last day of VKL.

And the most hilarious part is how almost at every turn Kristy and I would run into each other. As if by design this was meant to be our VKL experience. Even when we closed the place down on Day TWO!

Day 3 started with more of a workout than I had planned. The elevator at the hotel broke and that gave me a 32 flight climb and descend just before class. OYE! I was worried I would be late to class (and I was) but all in good fun and plus it was some extra cardio for the day for the win right? This class was interactive, exciting, fun and truly unexpected. You can read more about the amazing Yarn Bomb class here.

One last post class Marketplace perusal, a bit of time with new friends who are like family already and then it was time to say goodby. It was a whirlwind. I am glossing over a few things because I would have to write a book to cover it all thoroughly.

All in all, my first Vogue Knit Live was superb. Lots of things I will do different next year, and some I will only hope and pray are total repeats of awesome. This event is worth every minute and every penny. Knocked me to a new level and could not be more grateful. I do want to leave you with some solid takeaways from my first VKL. So here we go:

1. DO IT! If you have never done it but always wanted to - GO!!! It is worth it.

2. Watch out for the over registration. It all looks good and makes sense on paper so I spent money I did not need to registering for things I never went to. So when you are planning your VKL experience, be intentional with what you sign up for. I signed up for 3 lectures and a Gala dinner I never went to. That money could have bought YARN!

3. Wear comfortable shoes. Good gravy please wear comfortable shoes.

4. It is A LOT. Give yourself grace to miss it all. I will definitely slow down next year and spend more time taking it all in rather than trying to fit it all in. Those are distinctly different and I beleive makes for different experiences.

5. The best thing about VKL Live are the people. Period. Instructors, staff and attendees all included. THESE are my people. And I can say without hesitation or doubt that it felt like home. I made lifelong friends and was inspired by human connection through love of fiber and nothing, NOTHING, is better than that.

VKL 2018: The Haul

When I was packing for my first Vogue Knitting Live, I had that sudden crisis moment every knitter probably has: yarn or clothes? I wanted to keep my luggage manageable since I was going to be in New York for a whole week and transferring between Airbnb locations, but still needed my best knits. So in the end, I opted for a small duffle that easily popped up on my back and a small carry on with a few wips. I was so proud of myself for minimal packing and streamlining. I brought only the two projects I planned to work on and no extras.

And yet this was an epic fail. Why you ask?

Well, because when I devised my master packing plan I had fully intended NOT to buy anything at VKL. Yes, you read correctly. I had told myself I was going to make this an exploratory trip, take it all in and go for the lessons, classes and people. With the best intentions I set myself up for an epic failure that may have resulted in an extra suitcase purchase to ship a box of yarn home. Live and learn.

I have to say that it was still a small modest hall by my normal show standards. Anyone who has seen my standard Stitches Midwest hauls knows I don't play. So even though I broke the "no buying and no accepting yarn" pledge, I did stay within reason and made what I think are some smart decisions, which was not easy.

The Market Place was sensory overload. I have to admit I had to take it in doses because there was just SO MUCH happening. And though I tried, I did not even cover 2 thirds of it! But that didn't stop me from making some amazing finds. So let's check the haul:

vogue_knitting_live_2018_haul.jpg

One of the cooler aspects of the VKL Marketplace was how much space they dedicated to education. Books, teachers - it really was as much about feeding the knit soul and mind as stocking up on good finds. I grabbed an advance copy of the Vogue Knitting Ultimate Guide along with a copy of Knit New York which is a curated collection of New York inspired patterns published by One More Row Press. I am so excited for both of these. The patterns in Knit New York are perfect for the theme and I cannot wait to work them up.

One booth I was beyond excited to visit was The Third Piece. You may or may not know that I sort of stalk them on instalk-gram. They are such an empowered women's knitwear brand and they just opened their flagship store in Boston. I have been dying to get my hands on their chunky fiber and as soon as I did I was NOT disappointed. I also got to spend some time with Kristen & Jin (Owner / founder & designer respectively) and fell in love with them. I got enough Lavender to make their New Yorker scarf and the pink to make the boyfriend cardigan.

What is really awesome is that they offer both finished goods to help grow the handmade knitwear industry as well as materials, kits, fibers and host classes. They truly are bringing knitwear to the people of Boston and I love it! And now I will KNIT IT!!!!

VKL_Haul_201837.png

The fine folks at Love knitting dot com hosted a pre-VKL party for lots of us bloggers and it was SO MUCH FUN and they loaded us up with all kinds of British themed swag and some of their yummy in house fibers Willow & Lark! I arrived late (more on that later) so I made sure to visit their booth and get the low down on all they are offering. The colors they are offering are so vibrant and fun I am totally keeping them in mind for some fall projects.

VKL_MarketPlace_201859.jpg
ClintonHillCashmere.jpg

One super happy awesome discovery at the Marketplace was Clinton Hill Cashmere. It was instant love. For real I could have just called it a day because I found my divine inspiration fiber. Now I don't typically like cashmere because is typically a finer fiber an I do not like anything under DK weight. BUT... this is worsted weight and so squishy soft. I barely made it out of the market place before I had the first ball cast on my needles to make a hat. It is simply amazing. Yes it is a bit spendy so I will be saving up to do the shawl kit, but it is worth EVERY PENNY I tell you!!!  Meet Becky the founder and Learn more about them here.

I had so much fun hanging out and romping about the Stephen & Penelope booth. They are  such a bright happy place and group of fiber peeps! I had such fun meeting and hanging out with Petra from Undercover Otter. Her fibers were for sale at Stephen & Penelope and well, I may have left with 15 skeins. Hey now... I got plans for them skeins. They will become a beautiful shawl, a marled sweater and something else I haven't thought up yet. Her colors are SO VIBRANT and she is so rad. These will be my spring reward waiting for me when I get through the season.

My last big yarn splurge was with Northside Knit Co. What a hidden gem they were! I was knitting with my friend Chantal Saturday night (instead of going to the gala and I think I made the right call!) and she had this cotton that was simply insane. The color was incredible but the feel of this for a chunky cotton was actually something I have not felt before. They dye it naturally and so the next morning Chantal and I met up to visit the gals of Northside Knit Co. so I can get my hands on this yummy awesomeness. If I was gonna go broke it was going to be in this booth. This fiber just called me. I got 5 skeins of their bulkier cotton. It is an aran weight but really a thick thick Aran. I have some ideas of what I will be making and cannot wait.

So all in all not a bad trip to the Marketplace. Even though I originally planned not to buy at all, I still kept it modest (especially in comparison to the damage I usually do).  I certainly made only thoughtful purchases or accepted yarn I would truly use. To get the full recap watch below.